The Starting 5: A look at some of the best hoops content from around the Internet
It’s a simple idea: Tony Parker is one of the best point guards of this generation, so since Derrick Rose is coming off several knee surgeries and quickly has found himself no longer the best player on his own team, why not try to emulate Parker’s game? There are a few aspects that Rose could certainly adhere to that could make him more successful; only shooting three-pointers that are open, going back to the floater that made young Rose so successful and relying on teammates (such as Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol) to do more of the work.
D’Angelo Russell, the second overall pick in the draft and the 19-year-old future of the Lakers organization, doesn’t hold back when asked for honest answers. When asked recently if he thought he could win the Rookie of the Year award, he brushed the question off with a sly “of course,” and quickly followed it with a statement about this Lakers team “most definitely” being a playoff team. Dan Devine points out that this will be difficult, even with the young blood and a healthy Kobe Bryant, considering the Lakers have gone 48-116 over the last two years and that making the playoffs in the Western Conference generally will require about 50 wins.
While everyone knows that the Rockets signed Dwight Howard to be “the man” in their front court right now, the underlying secret is that they’ve built up the team around Howard to help them stay competitive now and going into the future. With Donatas Motiejunas (25 years old), Clint Capela (21) and Terrence Jones (23), the Rockets have a young core in the front court that should help the team survive once Howard is inevitably gone or no longer effective. Howard will be 30 this season, had his worst statistical year since his rookie year last season, and only played in 41 games due to injury. It’s not out of the question to wonder how much he has left in the tank, but no matter what, the Rockets should be set with some quality players going forward.
The Wizards are a young team with budding stars and role players that’s made the playoffs the last two seasons, both times being knocked out in the second round by the top seed in the Eastern Conference. But as the title leads, this is the end of the beginning for the Wizards. Now is the time for the young squad to graduate from kids learning to win to a real contender for the Eastern Conference crown. John Wall is a legitimate star point guard, but Bradley Beal and Otto Porter need to take that big leap this year to help the Wizards bust through the glass ceiling that’s held them to “only” 90 wins the last two seasons.
J.R. Wilco of Pounding The Rock takes a look back at a play in recent San Antonio Spurs history. It was Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder in May 2014, and the Spurs were one win away from a trip to the NBA Finals to get revenge on the Miami Heat, who’d beaten them in the Finals the year before. With under a minute left in overtime and the Spurs leading by a score of 108-107, the Thunder had the ball going up-court to attempt to take the lead. But Kawhi Leonard wouldn’t let Russell Westbrook beat them, making what Wilco believes to be the best defensive play in Spurs history.